Allegheny County Health Department extends its outreach on lead exposure through grants

Allegheny County Health Department extends its outreach on lead exposure through grants

Author: Alanna Koll/Thursday, January 4, 2018/Categories: Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Health Department is making efforts to educate residents about the dangers of lead by issuing small grants to local groups where people may be at danger of high exposure.  

ACHD announced Thursday that it will be awarding ten “mini-grants,” totaling $38,900, to community organizations such as the Homewood Children’s Village ($3,000) and the Perry Hilltop Citizens Council ($5,000) to educate individuals on the sources and consequences of lead, as well as the importance of prevention and universal blood level testing.  

“Harmful lead exposure from multiple sources is a reality in our county, and educating the public about the risks is a priority,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, ACHD Director in a statement. “We expect that this funding of investment will result in even larger returns.”  

From February to July, priority neighborhoods such as the Mon Valley, McKees Rocks, and Pittsburgh’s East End, Northside, and South Hills areas will be able to take part in workshops, community meetings, and receive door-to-door outreach on how to prevent and mitigate lead exposure thanks to the grants. Organizations will also share information about other available programs and resources with families in these areas.  

The Health Department identified the priority areas based on a proportion of individuals under five years old with confirmed blood lead levels at >5 ug/dL, as well as a proportion of houses built prior to 1950, high school education rate, and poverty percentage rate.  

The organizations receiving the grants are Circles of Greater Pittsburgh-Mon Valley ($6,000), Clairton Cares, Inc. ($4,000), Consumer Health Coalition, Environmental Occupational & Public Health Consultants, Inc. ($4,500), Pittsburgh Learning Commons ($5,000), United Somali Bantu Community of Greater Pittsburgh ($2,000), Women for a Health Environment ($4,400) and Youth Enrichment Services ($7,000).  

The mini-grant program is part of a communications strategy developed by the Health Department and made possible by a $300,000 grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. The program is part of a larger plan to prepare families, physicians, school nurses and others on complying with the county’s universal blood lead level testing regulation that went into effect January 1, 2018.  

“We are excited to partner with these organizations to boost education about lead safety in our community, and to better ensure that information get into the bands of those who need it most,” said Hacker.